Posts by Rebekah.Wallace

{coffee talk: striking a balance}

Posted by on Nov 1, 2013 in daily thoughts | 0 comments

I forgot a regular customer’s order the other day. She asked me for her usual and I stared blankly at her, then the register, willing it to come to me. It didn’t and she felt silly and I was bummed I couldn’t remember that she wanted a double dark roast in a triple cup. But we moved on and had a good conversation and I served her the coffee she wanted.

We love to anticipate people’s needs, don’t we? To be one step ahead and have our houses clean and dishes done and everything lined up. I’m talking less about coffee shop habits today and more about life (If I’m honest, this whole series has been about life anyways).

So often I make the mistake of thinking that if I think of everything and anticipate what people need, it will mean more to them. But most of the time, all people want is for us to be present and to listen. If they have a place to sit and something to drink, they are usually more than happy.

The best parties I have been to have been those where there is space to connect with others. I LOVE decorating, planning, lining up cute napkins and making placecards with the best of them. But I don’t want to get so lost in anticipating hosting/serving others that I miss the chance to be with them when they arrive.

We stayed up last night with group of friends and I baked scones at 11 pm in my messy kitchen. It took everything in my will power to leave the mess overnight with a new friend coming for breakfast at 8:30. I chose to go to bed but woke up EARLY for whatever reason and did piles of dishes and cleaned up from last night.
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It’s a balance. I’m not sure if I did those dishes because they needed to be done or because I didn’t want Tiffany to think we were slobs. More likely the latter and I thought about that as I laid out plates and leftover scones for breakfast.

I think it blesses people when we do things well, when we put effort into making things special for them and anticipating their needs. But at the end of the day, a friend wants my heart more than my crafts and decorating skills.

If you don’t have time or energy to make things pinterest perfect, if you aren’t sure what to cook and pick up pizza on the way home from a busy day for guests, who cares? Being available is one of the best gifts we can give to one another and I’m voting that we give that more of our energy than sweeping our floors at 7 a.m.

amen?

This is my last post on coffee for now. I’m sure more will come from my experiences and I’m thankful for the chance to pour a little bit of my heart out here (see what I did there? coffee joke #2).

You can read my heart behind this series and all six posts here.

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{coffee talk: looking for beauty }

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in daily thoughts | 0 comments

latte art
{photo credit: jp’s coffee, my old haunt in Holland}

Isn’t it amazing to think about the fact that all over the world, people are trained to make coffee look like this?
I experienced it myself a few weeks ago when a co-worker made a surprise design for a customer and their reaction was priceless. They loved it. Heck, even when I put autumn sprinkles on hot chocolate for adults they break out in a grin.

What is it about beauty in unexpected places that gives us joy?

I think that our days are filled with so many distractions, stressors, conversations and thoughts that when something beautiful is in front of us, we can’t help but stop and appreciate it.

It happened to me the other night while Hannah and I were walking to the park. Just moving along and all of a sudden, BAM. This:
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God has created something in our hearts to crave beauty. To seek more than the mundane and task-filled existence of our days. Those things will always be present because the reality is that we have to do our jobs, keep our houses clean and our kids bathed. We have to go to the bank, the post office the grocery store and sometimes to the coffee shop.

What if we started looking for beauty in unexpected places and noticing when it showed up? We could start to see pieces of our world with the Creator’s eyes.

Beauty does something in us and to us. No matter where found. So look for beauty today, seek it out. In the trees, in a stranger’s face, in the endcap design at Target, even in a coffee cup.

It’s there to be found and I dare say that our hearts will be changed for the better at the sight of it.

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{coffee talk: tips on tips}

Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in daily thoughts, front and center | 0 comments

tip jar

We have a yellow ceramic cup with a gorilla precariously perched sitting next to our cash register. The thing I never knew before working at a coffee shop is that the little gorilla jar is the best chance at higher wages that most baristas are going to get.

A THIRD of my income from working part-time at a coffee shop comes from tips. That means every shift I work, college students, regulars & happy workers leave $1 or $2 as a thanks for good service and it all adds up to 33% of my paycheck.

I never left a tip for my coffee before working in a coffee shop. It just wasn’t part of my routine. Similar to my experience working retail during the summers of my college years. After a day working in the dressing room, bathing suits no less, I will never leave a piece of clothing without a hanger in a dressing room again.

I’m lucky enough to work the same shifts every week, which means I see the same faces on a regular basis. The high school junior who is on the rowing team and starts her day with a hazelnut coffee milkshake. The busy working mom who stops in for a double dark roast most Tuesday afternoons around 4. The therapist who owns a private practice next door who sees clients until 9 pm & wants his double latte for an afternoon pick me up.

All people who leave tips EVERYTIME they visit.

I love the satisfaction of knowing I gave someone good service and appreciate the fact that they showed their thanks in paying a little bit more for what they got. Because if I do my job well, they do in fact got more than a cup of coffee!

If you already tip for good service, thank you! You are further along than I am. Just another chance to appreciate those we interact with in small, yet tangible ways.

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{coffee talk: when the company is the best thing}

Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in front and center, Thankful | 0 comments

*Due to the fact that I like to pretend I know how to do web design, my blog currently looks like this. Bummer. Our in-house techie has spent some good quality time working on getting it back to normal and I am confident it will be there but bear with me as it looks atrocious.

The words are still the same regardless, so let’s move on to the part where I talk about coffee.

This post is brought to you care of my favorite little barista. She poured me so many hot teas & coffees today during a Monday morning trip to the coffee shop and it was adorable. We slept in and skipped playgroup to create space for this:
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Be it at home, in the cozy corner chairs or on the go, who you are with makes all the difference in the world. Let that reminder free you up today to enjoy time with someone, without the pressure of everything need to be perfect. After all, the company you keep is always the best part of any coffee date.

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{coffee talk: one small change}

Posted by on Oct 27, 2013 in daily thoughts | 0 comments

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{image credit : aldea coffee}
I ran into a women at Target today and she looked so familiar but she didn’t recognize me and I didn’t ask. On the way home I realized that she is a regular at the coffee shop (double vanilla skinny latte, extra hot).

When you think about your daily habits, maybe you don’t visit a coffee shop everyday but you have other things you do regularly. For me, it is visiting the downtown library, driving through McDonalds for a diet coke before naptime, reading blogs on my phone, etc. Little habits that you do everyday that you don’t think too much about but overtime have impact on you and those around you.

What if we took those everyday habits and did something more meaningful with them? What if I got to know the librarian’s name or the person who works the lunch shift in the drive thru? What if the blogs I read were ones that encouraged the things I am thinking about already and added to the value of my daily life?

I think coffee can be the same way. Small simple changes don’t seem like they are making much impact but over time can be life changing.

About a year ago we took inventory on how much coffee we were making on Sundays for our gatherings at Grace Ann Arbor. About 5 pounds a week of coffee, which means 20 lbs a month of coffee was being made and served. Said another way, 760 cups of coffee are being consumed monthly during our two services on Sunday mornings.

We were able to partner with a local organization that has relationships with farmers in Honduras and allows us access to good quality coffee, within the context of relationships and sustanability. What a joy it is to know that the small purchase we make each month from our friend Andrew’s non-profit is furthering something larger than our enjoyment of coffee on Sunday morning.

I encourage you to think about your everyday choices in light of the bigger picture today. Maybe it means paying a little bit more, parking a little further away or starting a conversation with the person on the other side of the counter.

You never know where a small change could make a big impact in someone else’s life.

To read more about Aldea Cofee & the work they are doing in the world, check out their website here.

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